Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by iggy23, Apr 3, 2008.
what's the difference between a bf and a sf soundwise?
Silverface amps, in general, have a little more headroom... a little cleaner and tighter sounding. They're great amps.
i'm having my super reverb blackfaced....
So does the stereotype, at least, go like:
Tweed Champ--distorts right away, gets nasty easily
Blackface--some clean headroom, bigger bass, still will get loose
Silverface---more clean headroom, tighter bass, stays more polite
Tweed's (which is what I think you mean by "Champ") have a lot of midrange and less headroom (both as a result of the midrange and the power amp design). Lots of bottom end, but it's loose and undirected and the highs oll off early. They break-up early have have a big, loose, unfocused, organic feel to their overdrive. "Brown." Lo-Fi. Think '50's raunchy blues tones.
Brownface's started to shave a little of the midrange out, and bump up the headroom. Still fairly dirty machines, but more focused and tighter sounded.
Blackface, this is when Fender got it's signature tone. Scooped midrange; tighter, punchier low end that is more prominent and a bright, snappy high end. This is the tone most people usually think of when they think "Fender." When overdriven you don't get the big, fat, warm, mushy, organic, you get a much tighter, brighter sizzle. Tweed OD Generally, BF models are warmer than their SF counterparts.
Silverface, voiced the same as Blackface, still has that Fender tone, but larger power supplies up the headroom and give an overall cleaney shimmer to the tone. If I were looking for '70's country or Fender clean tones, I would go with a Silverface (and, actually, I *do* prefer the SF simmer over the more bluesy BF). The real downside for SF models is that construction suffered due to faster turnaround and cheaper materials. TO compensate, there is usually some added filtering in the design.
Great summations! I tend to add midrange through tone stack mods and "looseness" through negative feedback mods to my Silverface Fenders! Sort of a blending of all the Fender vintages.
the high end is a little more brittle on the silverface... They are great amps though. I've got a '70 super reverb. Great amp!
Wyatt's description of the Blackface tone is dead-on for my new Richter 5.8 which is a Blackface circuit with beefed-up power supply and OT plus the two mods that Mdd59 uses (NFB resistor down to 56Kohm and mids brought up 3-4dB or so).
It's not broken in yet but so far it can and does jump up with a brittle-seeming bite on the highs. Happens if I'm playing clean with my fingertips but inadvertently catch a fingernail on the B or high-E string. Played the way I mean to, it has wonderful shimmery treble overtones but they can easily turn stabby. Maybe that's just its Tweedy side reminding me to play better!
A real can o' worms. Sometimes no difference at all, sometimes a lot. In a real general sense I believe its conceded that the BFs sound "better" but it depends on many factors - off the top of my head - What particular amp model are we talkin' about, what year, what circuit, how the components have aged and drifted, what speakers, what is the cab construction, is it original or modified, and what tubes are in it.....
In most cases, you can take a SF and make it very nearly identical as they can be tuned and adjusted. I've seen a bunch of BFs that are horribly made and of course they are the CBS period "late" BF amps. There are a lot of silvers like the early 70's ones that are made better IMHO and sound wonderful.
Let your ears be the judge. If you're not experienced in evaluating a particular amp try take someone with you who is.
As a side note: from what I've seen, the really nicely made BF amps lasted up until late '66, then they started going horribly wrong for a while....
In some cases, the silverfaces can sound better, depends on the amp.
Also, more headroom doesn't always mean "cleaner". If your playing a 22 watt Deluxe Reverb, more headroom can also mean a fuller sound that, at band volume, still breaks up as much as the blackface counterpart, only without the flappy bottom end.
The silverfaces sound a few hundred cheaper.